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East Gippsland



Helping East Gippsland children to ‘build back better’

23 Feb 2021

It has been a challenging few years for the community of East Gippsland, with on-going drought followed by devastating bushfires and then the COVID-19 pandemic further threatening families, homes and livelihoods. 

A three-year grant of $239,896 from the Ross Trust will enable the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative to continue its efforts to “build back better”, ensuring children have a voice and are heard in the region’s recovery.

The Children’s Wellbeing Initiative is a community-led approach to child wellbeing in East Gippsland. Save the Children acts as the backbone of the initiative, bringing together about 85 organisations to support children and their families.

Save the Children says the East Gippsland region has a lot to be proud of in its response to the natural disasters “and is now coming together to mitigate the unprecedented socio-economic impacts of a global pandemic”.

The Children’s Wellbeing Initiative was established in 2015 to address the low developmental and educational outcomes of children and young people in East Gippsland. 

The Initiative helps organisations to coordinate systems, share data and jointly provide better healthcare, protect children from violence and abuse, strengthen early childhood education and development outreach to all children. 

Funding for the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative expired in 2020. The Ross Trust grant will provide some financial security as further financial support is sought from government and philanthropy.

Ross Trust Program Manager Meghan Weekes says the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative is well placed to play a fundamental role in recovery in East Gippsland, particularly representing children young people and families to build back stronger. 

“After working closely with the community and local organisations and services for the previous five years, the Initiative demonstrates the critical principles for recovery as described by the Australian Institute of Disaster Recovery. 

“Namely, understanding the community context, recognising complexity, using community-led approaches, coordinating activities, communicating effectively and acknowledging and building capacity.

The Ross Trust has a long history of support for Save the Children, issuing nine grants between 1989 and 2017. Save the Children works around the world to protect children from abuse and neglect, provide access to healthcare and education and to assist children in times of emergency.